Best Family-Friendly Credit Cards [2018 Edition]
Discover the best family-friendly credit cards for entertainment including travel credit cards, gas and grocery cards, and more. Compare some of the biggest names, like Chase, Citi, Discover and more and determine which card is best for you.
You spend a lot on family entertainment and travel, but with your current card, it's possible you're not getting all the rewards and benefits you could get from all that spending.
Banks and credit card companies have numerous reasons to make sure customers are happy with their rewards.
For one thing, people who like their credit cards' rewards program tend to spend more on them.
In 2015, consumers who rated their rewards as attractive tended to spend an average of $1,132 per month.
Compare that to the $744 worth of monthly spending by those who deemed their rewards unappealing.
What's even more surprising is that nearly two-thirds of credit card balances were held on rewards cards in 2014, representing a grand total of 80% of all credit card spending.
What does this mean for you?
Depending on the kinds of activities you and your family enjoy the most, you can get considerable rewards by using the right entertainment credit cards to pay for them.
For me, my family is my most treasured possession—they are my rock, my motivation.
So I try my absolute best to spend as much entertainment time with them as I can.
The good thing about studying credit cards for 20 years is that I've gained enough knowledge to know which cards I need to keep in my wallet to make entertaining my family even more fun and rewarding than it already is for me.
In this guide, I will show you the best family-friendly credit cards for your specific needs so that you can spend more time and get greater rewards for the things you love to do when you spend quality time with your loved ones.
What You Need to Know
You'll get the most value out of a card that aligns with you and your family's favorite activities
Miles cards can help you afford amazing trips even faster.
If your family loves to travel and go on incredible adventures together, the right credit card can help you afford those fantastic trips by letting you earn miles with every purchase.
If you often use your credit card for gas, groceries or other necessities, you can earn far greater rewards points by using a card specifically for that purpose.
From clothes for school to birthday gifts, many cards reward you just for using them when you shop at specific stores, including online.
How we picked the best credit cards for family entertainment
Our picks for the best family-friendly credit cards were chosen based on five criteria:
Flexible rewards program. We specifically looked at cards with popular rewards programs, since it's incredibly convenient to have a card that allows you to trade points for miles when traveling, for example.
Easy to redeem points/miles for rewards. Family life can be busy and stressful, but redeeming your credit card rewards shouldn't be.
We've highlighted cards that make rewards redemption easy and hassle-free via a member's account area or dashboard.
Excellent customer service. The cards we highlight in our guide are known for exemplary and attentive customer service, should you have any questions or issues.
Designed for busy families. While each of these cards is designed for specific purposes, like travel, cash back, or balance transfers, they nevertheless can help provide your busy family with excellent entertainment rewards.
Best for Travel
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card
With its highly rewarding sign-on bonus and double points on travel and dining, a whole new world of experiences is right at your fingertips when you use this card.
Get 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 or more on your card within the first three months of opening your account
While $4,000 is a hefty amount to put on a credit card from the start, the fact that it gives you the equivalent of $625 that you can use toward your airfare or hotel stay is enough to put a more expensive trip a bit more within reach.
What's more, there are no blackout dates, making it easier to travel during the kids' spring or summer breaks.
The points you earn are worth 25% more when you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you'll get double points when you use your card for travel and dining purchases.
Make those purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and you'll get 2.25 points per dollar instead of the usual 2 points.
Other features you should know about
The EMV security chip provides added peace of mind. Travel with confidence, as the chip embedded in the card provides you with extra security against fraudulent transactions.
Spend abroad with no foreign transaction fee. No need to worry about hefty foreign transaction fees eating away at your souvenir budget.
Discover unique opportunities to enjoy exclusive experiences. In addition to these benefits, you'll also get access to Chase Preferred Experiences.
This unique collection of fun and family-friendly activities gets you up close at sporting and dining events as well as concerts and festivals.
The annual fee might make you think twice. At $95, the annual fee can take a bite out of your savings.
Even if you travel often, it would take thousands of points to make up the difference.
The APR isn't the lowest out there. At 17.24–24.24% for purchases and balance transfers, this card is in the middle range when it comes to interest rates, as most travel credit cards are.
Some cardholders won't qualify for the bonus. If you're already a Chase Sapphire cardholder or have taken advantage of another Chase welcome offer within the last 24 months, you won't qualify for the 50,000 point bonus.
Planning a family vacation? Book your trip using this card within the first three months of opening your account
To get the most out of this card, you'll want to apply for it right before your trip and then book that trip using the Chase Ultimate Rewards member portal once you've been approved.
Not only will you enjoy up to $625 that you can use towards airfare or family-friendly hotels, but you'll also get the 25% bonus on the points you've earned.
You can then redeem your points for miles on select Chase airline partners, making more expensive flights easier to afford.
Just keep in mind that while you can transfer points to miles, you cannot transfer your miles back into points.
How do I earn more points with this card?
Beyond the welcome bonus, you'll get double points when you use your card for travel and dining purchases, so you'll want to make this card your go-to travel credit card for family vacations and eating out.
What's more, if you add an authorized user, you'll get an additional 5,000 points, so feel free to add your spouse or another family member to get maximum points.
Apply for this card if you're looking to book a vacation soon and want the best possible rewards from Chase.
Best for Getting Cash Back
The Citi Double Cash card
This card essentially pays you back twice: you get 1% for every dollar spent, and then 1% when you pay it back on your balance, making it a solid contender among cash-back credit cards.
For larger purchases, you'll also enjoy more than a year of cushion to pay them off, thanks to the 0% intro APR for the first 18 months on purchases and balance transfers.
The key to getting the most out of this card is to pay your balance in full every time
As you make purchases and pay your balance in full, you'll continue to accrue 2% cash back with no limits or caps on how much you can earn.
And the generous 0% intro and balance transfer APR makes this card a solid choice for transferring and paying down high balances too, making it easier to manage your finances.
No need to fuss over activating categories every quarter just to get your cash back
One of the main reasons why the Citi card topped our list is because of its simplicity.
In a nutshell, you earn 2% cash back on every purchase with no rotating categories required every quarter.
Most other cash back credit cards force you to activate different categories every three months.
And while this does mean you might earn slightly less cash back overall, the convenience more than makes up for it.
The downside for some is that you can only be approved for this card if you already have good or excellent credit.
But if your credit profile fits the bill and you don't want the hassle of activating other cash-back credit cards' categories, there's no reason not to apply for the Citi Double Cash Back card.
By the way, in case you want to improve that credit score of yours from "fair" to "good", did you know that taking out a small personal loan just might help?
Because it's a different type of loan, having it included in your credit report can add a boost to your score.
Best for Gas and Groceries
The Discover it Cashback Match card
Gas and groceries are a way of life for everyone, but doubly so for busy families.
That's why the Discover it Cashback Match card is the ideal card to use to get rewarded for the purchases you regularly make.
Discover automatically matches all cash back earned on your card at the end of the first year
This is an enticing signup deal, and you don't have to do anything other than apply to get approved.
You'll also get 5% cash back on rotating categories every quarter
From gas stations to grocery stores, restaurants, and even Amazon.com, the categories vary and if you time it right, you could rack up considerable cash back.
This feature alone made the Discover it Cashback Match card stand out among cash back credit cards.
In addition, you'll also get 1% cash back on all other purchases that don't fall within the specific rotating categories.
There's both good news and bad news when it comes to earning and redeeming your cash back
The good news is that Discover makes it incredibly simple to redeem the cash back you've collected.
You can use the "Pay with Rewards" feature when checking out at Amazon.com, making this card a great way to snag some of those items on your wish-list.
You can also use your cash back rewards to pay for gift cards (with a minimum of $5 each on them), make a charitable donation, deposit the cash to your bank account, or apply it to your card balance.
The downside is that you'll need to log into your Discover Member's Area and activate the 5% cash back categories every quarter in order actually get that much cash back.
This can seem like an unnecessary inconvenience, but when you think about it, you only need to do it four times per year.
Are there any other ways to save money with the Discover card?
Discover Deals is the company's exclusive deal portal, where members can save even more from their favorite stores including Walmart and Macy's.
Current deals include an extra 5% cash back from participating retailers, or up to 25% off menu prices at popular restaurants.
So, if you're interested in saving money on the things you buy the most of, and you don't mind rotating categories as long as you get more cash back, you probably should apply for the Discover card.
Best for Getting Out of Debt
The Chase Slate card
Let's face it, raising a family isn't cheap, but the Chase Slate is one of the better credit cards out there that can actually help you pay down debt.
Get 0% APR on purchases for 15 months after opening your account. If you need to make a significant purchase but you want a longer time to pay it off, this low credit card rate can make that happen for you.
Transfer high balances and pay no balance transfer fee. The $0 balance transfer fee (compared to the usual 3–5% of the amount transferred) can save you quite a chunk of change but you'll need to transfer your balance within the first 60 days after opening your account.
See your credit score every month for free. One of the best ways the Chase Slate card can help you manage debt and keep it from coming back is by providing your credit score every month for free.
With your free monthly credit score, you'll be able to review how your good saving and spending habits are helping to improve your credit score.
Interest rates might make you hesitant. At 16.24–24.99%, the interest rates aren't the lowest we've reviewed, but they are on the low end of the spectrum, especially if you are trying to pay down debt or improve your credit.
Generally speaking, the Chase Slate is one of the best balance transfer cards for families, as well as a card with an attractive intro 0% APR for big purchases.
If you can budget to fully pay off the card before the interest-free period expires, applying for the Chase Slate can be a really smart move.
Best for All-Around Purchases
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred card
If you want a credit card with a low cash back threshold, plus cash back on everyday purchases like groceries or gas, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card may be a good choice.
Not only do you get cash back for buying everyday items with your card, you also get a 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for a full year.
Even after the 0% APR intro period has expired, the interest rate is only 14.49–25.49% thereafter, making it one of the lowest interest rate credit cards in our review for those with excellent credit.
Save over $300 per year on supermarket purchases. You'll get 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets for a full year with this card, a great incentive for families that cook and eat at home often.
If you spend just $100 per week at the grocery store, that's already a savings of $300 per year.
Get 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores. If you're on the road a lot, or you like to shop at department stores, the additional 3% cash back is another definite plus.
Low APR for those with "Good" or "Excellent" credit. The 14.49% APR is definitely worth a look if you have good or excellent credit.
If you don't, you may be better off with a different card, since the 25.49% is among the highest interest rates for those with bad credit.
Low cash back threshold makes initial sign-up attractive. You'll get $200 back (in the form of a statement credit) after spending just $1,000.
That's a low spending threshold to meet in order to reap decent savings—plus, it appears on your statement automatically, requiring no extra step on your part.
Those features alone would put this card at the top of our list among rewards cards, except for one thing …
Watch out, the 6% cash back savings you earn with this card has a yearly cap
Although that 6% cash back at supermarkets looks good on paper, the fine print shows that it's capped at a maximum of $6,000 per year.
For a busy (and hungry) family, it's not a hard limit to hit, and once you do, your once-glorious 6% cash back rate is unceremoniously throttled down to 1% for your succeeding grocery store purchases.
The annual fee causes the card to take yet another hit.
In exchange for the considerable cash back on your grocery purchases, the lower interest rate and shopping savings, you'll need to pay $95 per year to keep this card.
Unfortunately, unlike many other cash back credit cards, the annual fee for the Blue Cash Preferred card is not waived for the first year.
But even if you spend less than that on groceries, if you want a good chunk of savings when shopping at department stores or buying gas, along with a decent interest rate, the Blue Cash Preferred Rewards card is still worth a look.
You can apply for the card directly on the American Express website.
Best for Dining Out
The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card
If your family dines out frequently, or especially while traveling, the Capital One Savor card is one that can make your family bonding times and gastronomic adventures even more rewarding.
Great cash back savings on all things food. Got a family of foodies? This card gives you 3% cash back when dining, 2% on groceries, and 1% on all other purchases.
0% intro APR offer available, but only for 9 months. If you're looking to splurge a little and pay off larger purchases, you may be better off with another card—one that offers a longer interest-free period.
After 9 months, the interest goes up to 15.74–24.49%, which is a bit higher than average.
Enjoy elite benefits when you travel. In addition to having no foreign transaction fees, you'll also be enrolled in the World Elite Mastercard program.
This program provides cardholders with extra travel rewards, such as complimentary room upgrades, early check-in and late check-out, and other perks.
For vacationing families trying to wrangle all the kids away from home, any of these benefits would be wholeheartedly welcomed!
Get a one-time $150 cash bonus when you sign up
To qualify for the bonus, you'll need to spend $500 or more on purchases within three months of opening an account.
This can be a great time to take a mini-vacation and enjoy some exotic eats, or try a new place that's a bit closer to home!
Does the notion of a credit card that pays you back for dining out whet your appetite?
Then go ahead and apply directly online for the Savor card!
Best for Building Up Your Bank Account
The Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit card
The Bank of America Cash Rewards card is a decent cashback credit card on its own, but where it truly shines is in the way it connects to your Bank of America checking or savings account.
Cash back rewards for everyday purchases. You'll get 3% cash back on gas, 2% on groceries, and 1% on everything else, making this a convenient card for the things you buy most often.
More time to pay down large purchases. With a 0% intro APR for 12 months, you can go ahead and have an impromptu family road trip without worrying about dipping into your savings to afford it!
Attractive APR and no annual fee. Depending on your creditworthiness, your interest rate could be 14.24–24.49%, which is among the lowest of cash back credit cards profiled here.
And since there's no annual fee, more of your hard-earned cash stays in your pocket.
You'll need "Good" or "Excellent" credit to be approved, however.
Frequent spenders with excellent credit should look elsewhere. If you use your card very often, there are other credit card rewards programs out there that can definitely give you more cash back.
Get a $150 online cash rewards bonus when you spend $500 on purchases within 90 days from opening your account
As a sign-up bonus for first-time members, you'll get an online cash rewards bonus if you meet the spending threshold within the first three months.
This is on top of the existing cash back bonus you get from gas and grocery purchases, and you don't have to do anything extra to get it.
To get the most out of this card, use it for gas and grocery purchases and then redeem your cash back into your BofA bank account
When you redeem your cash back rewards into your Bank of America checking or savings account, you'll get a nice 10% bonus added to that amount.
This sounds great as it is, but Bank of America is prepared to sweeten the deal even more if you're a loyal banking customer.
Become a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member for an even bigger cash back bonus
There's no fee to join the Preferred Rewards program—the only requirement is that you have a Bank of America checking account and a three-month average combined balance of $20,000 or more.
If you don't have a Bank of America checking account, but you do have a Merrill Lynch investment account that meets these criteria, you can also be approved for the Preferred Rewards program.
The program has three tiers, and which one you belong to depends on your account balance.
Depending on the tier you fall into, your cash back bonus can grow 25–75%.
If you fit the profile and are a Bank of America banking customer, this is definitely a card you'd want to have in your wallet.
You can apply directly online at Bank of America's website and start earning cash rewards right away.
Best for Airline Miles
The Capital One Venture Rewards credit card
If you and your family fly frequently, and you have "Excellent" credit, you'll want to take a closer look at the Venture card.
Get 2x miles per dollar on every purchase. There are no restrictions, no cut-off dates, and no caps on the miles you can earn, making this a great card for the ultimate summer vacation getaway.
Enjoy a whopping 50,000-mile sign-up bonus. Spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening your account to earn the welcome bonus.
No annual fee for the first year. After that, the fee is $95 per year.
Decent APR and rewards don't expire. At 14.49–24.49%, this card boasts one of the lowest interest rates among Visa cards.
Visa Signature program offers numerous travel benefits. As a cardholder, you'll enjoy additional travel benefits including travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, purchase security, and more.
To make the most of your miles, pay with your Venture card and book through hotels.com/venture
The $3,000 spending threshold is rather high, but there's a way to earn far more points per dollar toward airline miles.
Once you apply for the card and get approved, you should then book your trip at hotels.com/venture.
This option gives you 10x points per dollar versus the usual 2x points, helping you rack up more miles and get your sign-up bonus even faster.
To get started on an application, head over to the Capital One Venture page.
Best for Loyal Frequent Flyers
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card
Not to be outdone by Capital One's Venture card, Chase has partnered with Southwest Airlines to launch this card, which is definitely worth checking out if you're a loyal Southwest Airlines flyer.
High bonus points with a lower spending threshold. Like the Venture card, this card gives you 50,000 bonus points. However, you only need to spend $2,000 within the first three months after opening your account.
Keep in mind that this is points, not miles, so it is not a direct 1:1 comparison with the Chase Venture card.
Pay for your Southwest flight with this card and get 2x points. You'll enjoy double points on all Southwest Airline purchases when you pay for them with this card, plus one point for everything else.
Get additional benefits when you travel. In most cases, your bags will fly free when you book with this card, plus there are no blackout dates.
As part of the Chase Visa Signature program, you'll also get other perks such as travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and more.
Higher APR and annual fee might cause a bit of turbulence. At 17.24–24.24%, the interest rate is higher than most airline or hotel chain credit cards.
There's also an annual fee of $99 that is reduced to $69 for the first year, instead of being waived completely like many other travel points cards.
How do I earn more points with the Southwest card?
Because your points don't expire and there are no caps on how many points you can earn, many people understandably want to know how to earn more points.
You automatically get 6,000 bonus points on your cardmember anniversary.
You can also refer a friend and, if they are approved for the card, you'll get 10,000 bonus points.
If you're fiercely loyal to Southwest Airlines, and you travel often, applying for this card could help you earn travel rewards points faster.
The best credit card for entertainment is the one that keeps your family entertained the best—without breaking the bank
Now that you've seen our top picks for entertainment credit cards for the whole family, the next step is to think about which family-friendly activities best suit your goals and lifestyle.
As you can see, each of these credit cards has its own pros and cons depending on what counts as "entertainment" for your family.
Whether you and your loved ones love to travel, shop, or enjoy a meal together, there's a family credit card out there that can make entertaining your family even more fun, affordable, and rewarding.
Do you use a credit card for family activities and outings?
How has your entertainment credit card worked out for you?
Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us?
Let us know in the comments below!